Insight from Brussels: Russia’s WTO win fails to derail EU’s gas diversification push

Russia’s recent win at the World Trade Organization against the EU’s efforts to diversify its gas supplies has come too late to stop Eastern Europe gaining access to non-Russian supplies, even if the EU loses its appeal against it. The EU will likely have time to adopt a fourth “projects of common interest” list, due in late 2019, before any final WTO ruling requiring it to change its selection rules becomes binding. This fourth list would be in force for two years, and the EU expects all the security of gas supply projects on it that help diversify Eastern European gas supplies will be completed by 2021. The EU has appealed against the WTO panel report finding that using “diversifying supplies” as a criteria to select projects in markets where Russia is the dominant supplier impinges Russia’s right to export. The WTO’s Appellate Body was due to rule on the appeal by December 21, but has said it will be delayed for an unknown period owing to understaffing. This is part of a wider problem in resolving WTO disputes, and the EU recently proposed reforming how the Appellate Body works. “I’m surprised as a citizen that Gazprom can protect a monopoly… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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